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May 23, 2008 Newsletter

May 23, 2008

This Week on

Great Memories of "On Location" and LBI...

Author Talk: Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, Authors of NOVEL DESTINATIONS

Announcing's Third Annual Father's Day Contest: Best Books for Dad

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on DYING BREATH by Wendy Corsi Staub

New Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Mariah Stewart, Author of MERCY STREET

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming, Author of I SHALL NOT WANT

Featured One to Watch Author: Lucie Whitehouse, Author of THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Victoria Lustbader, Author of STONE CREEK

Now in Stores: ODD HOURS by Dean Koontz

Now in Stores: THE MIRACLE AT SPEEDY MOTORS by Alexander McCall Smith
Now in Stores: SKELETONS AT THE FEAST by Chris Bohjalian
What's New This Month on

This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Social Networking Websites

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- TWO Prizes

Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists
Coming Soon
New in Paperback

Great Memories of "On Location" and LBI...

Years ago, when I was with Mademoiselle magazine, I traveled the country in the spring and fall doing a promotion called "On Location." We would fly to a city and do store events each evening that included a fashion show, makeovers and the season's fashion and beauty tips. It was a great way to see America, and I loved the travel to both the large cities and small towns. The camaraderie of the team that traveled --- editors, makeup artists, photographers and hairstylists --- made these events memorable. 

Last weekend I felt that same spirit when I was on Grand Cayman and in Coral Gables doing book club events. You can read my blogs about these adventures here and here on This time, the team was made up of the store's book club coordinator, Debra Linn; authors Lisa See (Grand Cayman) and Kristy Kiernan (Coral Gables) and myself. It brought back a flood of memories as well as created a host of new ones. It's really fun getting out to meet readers like this. I even met an author on Grand Cayman, Helen Tse, who has a book coming out in July called SWEET MANDARIN, a memoir that recounts the lives of three generations of remarkable Chinese women. Great fun when moments like this happen. I would love to create an "On Location" kind of event where we travel the country meeting readers following the format of last weekend. Hmmmm I need to think about this one!

I confess that those years of doing fashion events had a huge influence on me. No matter where I am asked to speak or show up, my first thought always is "What am I going to wear?" The other night I realized that my summer shoes were looking sad. I hit the shoe sale at Nordstrom (how lucky was I that my shoe crisis overlapped with their sale?), and let's just say I stocked up. The shoe crisis has been averted with a power shopping half hour. I think there is a salesperson left in my wake who still is wondering what hit. Ummm....six pairs. Less than $280.

I can do the same thing in a bookstore. Last weekend everyone was teasing me about the size of my bag for three nights of travel. Ha, you readers know ALL about this; I cannot pack light. Well, I left with 42 pounds, and by the time I flew back I was "negotiating" with the skycap when I had 53 pounds. The 11 additional pounds: BOOKS!!!

Our second weekend of the Beach Bag of Books promotion is here, and the book, DYING BREATH by Wendy Corsi Staub, is set in a place that I know very well, Long Beach Island (LBI), an island of beaches at the Jersey Shore. I spent MANY a weekend at the beach there over the years, so this book conjured up just a few memories. In this thriller, a serial killer turns this serene getaway into his hunting ground. Our beach bag prize includes an underwater skateboard. I kid you not. I bought one for myself last weekend (in blue) and decided it needs to go in the bag as well. I have not tried it out yet since our pool still is sooooo cold, but I have to say the kid in me really wants to try this out. I can see my boys howling about this now.

Our Father's Day promotion kicks off this week. These prizes are over the top: We are awarding five bags, each worth $500, that include 18 books and prizes. This is one very seriously amazing way to tell dad how much you care! See details further down the page.

We are launching a new Romantic Suspense feature for New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart, whose new romantic suspense, MERCY STREET, is now in stores. In this gripping story, the mysterious murders of local high school students spark an intense investigation in a Pennsylvania town. We have 10 copies of MERCY STREET to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, May 30th.

We are hosting a special contest celebrating the release of NOVEL DESTINATIONS: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt (our Contributing Editor, who manages our blog there) and Joni Rendon, who has been a longtime friend of the company. Readers who answer a question correctly by reading an excerpt from the book automatically will be entered to win. This book is an ideal companion for someone who wants to learn more about the places favorite novelists have made their own. Click here to find out more about the book and read all the contest details. I am having a lot of enjoyment seeing this book come out, as a few years ago I introduced Joni to Shannon when they both were freelancing. Watching their friendship --- and their writing partnership --- grow has been a wonderful experience. Read on to see an interview with these two authors.

This week, we are also featuring comments for THE STEEL WAVE by Jeff Shaara and A COLD DARK PLACE by Gregg Olsen, both of which our readers really enjoyed. You can read their responses for THE STEEL WAVE here and A COLD DARK PLACE here. You may remember the great feedback we received last week for MRS. PERFECT by Jane Porter. We have received Jane’s responses to our advance readers’ questions, which you can read here.

Here's to a nice long Memorial Day weekend and lots of reading.
Along the way, please keep in mind the true meaning of the holiday and remember those who died in service to our country. Each year we attend the town parade on Memorial Day, and I confess that I do get a tear in my eye when the older veterans walk past in their uniforms saluting the crowd. Each year there are fewer and fewer of them, and this does not go unnoticed. At the same time, there are new veterans joining in. There is something very moving about this.

Next Wednesday I am off to L.A. for BookExpo America, the book industry's annual trade show where we will get a look at the books for fall/winter 2008. It's a busy and way overscheduled weekend for me...jetlag here it comes.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Author Talk: Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, Authors of NOVEL DESTINATIONS

Freelance writers and bibliophiles Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon recently published NOVEL DESTINATIONS, a literary-inspired travel guide that covers over 500 book- and author-related landmarks in the U.S. and Europe. In this interview, the authors describe how their shared interests and mutual backgrounds prompted this collaborative effort, and explain why they chose to focus on sites linked to classics instead of more contemporary works. They also share their personal favorite literary hotspots, highlight some of the behind-the-scenes anecdotes covered in the book, and discuss ideas for future joint projects.

NOVEL DESTINATIONS: Literary Landmarks From Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon (Travel)
In a world saturated with every kind of travel guide, Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon have created an entertaining and informative companion for book lovers eager to travel to sites frequented by classic writers and to the settings of their beloved works. And there’s lots of good food, drink and fun along the way. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read a review of NOVEL DESTINATIONS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NOVEL DESTINATIONS.
-Click here for all the details of the NOVEL DESTINATIONS Contest.


Click here to read an interview with Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon.


Announcing's Third Annual Father's Day Contest: Best Books for Dad

From May 23rd through June 6th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Father’s Day Duffel Bags. Our gray Duffel Bags are stocked with handy and fun items for dad, as well as one copy of ALL 18 of our featured titles. These selections include stories of suspense, survival, adventure and perseverance. Whether he is a fan of history, thrillers, sports stories or memoirs, has the perfect gift suggestions for the dad in your life.

Our featured Father’s Day titles are:

-THE ADVENTURES OF SLIM & HOWDY by Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, with Bill Fitzhugh
-THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates
-THE BILLIONAIRE'S VINEGAR: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace
-A CHAMPION'S MIND: Lessons from a Life in Tennis by Pete Sampras, with Peter Bodo
-CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith
-COURAGE: Portraits of Bravery in the Service of Great Causes by Gordon Brown
-DEAD LUCKY: Life After Death on Mount Everest by Lincoln Hall
-ESCAPE by Robert K. Tanenbaum
-FATHER KNOWS LESS: One Dad's Quest to Answer His Son's Most Baffling Questions by Wendell Jamieson
-THE FILM CLUB by David Gilmour
-IKE: An American Hero by Michael Korda
-AN INCOMPLETE AND INACCURATE HISTORY OF SPORT…and Other Random Thoughts from Childhood to Fatherhood by Kenny Mayne
-THE POET OF BAGHDAD: A True Story of Love and Defiance by Jo Tatchell
-THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT MY DAD (IN THERAPY): Humorous and Heartfelt Essays by Heather B. Armstrong
-TIME BANDIT: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs by Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand, with Malcolm MacPherson
-A VOYAGE LONG AND STRANGE: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz
-WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER?: A Son's Memoir of Love and Loss by Blake Morrison


Click here to read all the contest details.


Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on DYING BREATH by Wendy Corsi Staub

Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fourth Annual " Beach Bag of Books."

Every week from May 16th through August 29th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a review and contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s), plus summertime essentials that tie in to the weekly theme. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

This week, we’re spotlighting DYING BREATH, Wendy Corsi Staub’s newest thriller, in which a seaside retreat becomes a killer’s playground. In a pink and bronze floral bag, winners will find a red towel with white nautical rope design, a bottle of Banana Boat suntan lotion, a SubSkate underwater skateboard, a red EZ-Freeze water bottle, Altoids mints and a red nine-can cooler with a rope design, as well as a copy of DYING BREATH. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of DYING BREATH.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, May 29th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Where did Cam’s sister attend college?

DYING BREATH by Wendy Corsi Staub (Thriller)
It’s summer on the Jersey Shore. Children play on the beach. Husbands are off working in the city. And the surf echoes in the night. Here, in this perfect place, a serial killer has no worries in the world --- except choosing the next victim… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Read more about Wendy Corsi Staub and DYING BREATH here.


Click here to read all the details of our Summer Beach Bag Contest.

New Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Mariah Stewart, Author of MERCY STREET
Mariah Stewart is the New York Times/em> bestselling author of 23 novels and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the RIO Award for excellence in women's fiction and a Reviewers' Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine. In MERCY STREET, her latest romantic suspense novel now in stores, Stewart begins a thrilling new series with a story about a mysterious murder investigation in a Pennsylvania factory town. 

We have 10 copies of MERCY STREET to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, May 30th.

-Click here to read Mariah Stewart’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,

More about MERCY STREET:
On a balmy spring evening, four high school seniors enter a park in the small Pennsylvania city of Conroy. The next morning, two are found shot to death while the others are missing. In the wake of this tragedy, former detective Mallory Russo and Detective Charlie Wanamaker are called upon to figure out what happened in the park that night.

Click here to read more about Mariah Stewart and MERCY STREET.


Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming, Author of I SHALL NOT WANT

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s debut novel, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, was the recipient of multiple awards, including the Anthony Award, the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award. In I SHALL NOT WANT, the latest installment in her bestselling mystery series that releases on June 10th, the Reverend Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne find themselves sucked into a murder investigation in Clare's small Adirondack town.

-Click here to read an excerpt from I SHALL NOT WANT.
-Click here to read Julia Spencer-Fleming’s bio.
-Click here to see Julia Spencer-Fleming's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for I SHALL NOT WANT.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about I SHALL NOT WANT:
In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, life doesn’t stop for heartbreak. But when a farmhand stumbles over a Latino man killed with a single shot to the back of his head, an Episcopal priest is sucked into the investigation through her involvement in the migrant community.


Click here to read more about Julia Spencer-Fleming and I SHALL NOT WANT.

Featured One to Watch Author: Lucie Whitehouse, Author of THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT

In her debut novel, THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT, Lucie Whitehouse delivers a captivating and gripping psychological story. After a death in the family, Lucas Heathfield inherits his uncle’s manor in the English countryside. But within the confines of the manor, the lives of a circle of friends are changed forever. THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT will be available in stores on June 3rd.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT.
-Click here to read Lucie Whitehouse’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

After the suicide of his uncle, Lucas Heathfield inherits Stoneborough Manor, in the English countryside. Lucas’s best friend, Joanna, imagines it as a place where their close-knit group can escape to London and rekindle the revelry of their college days. But from the beginning, the house has a strange effect on everyone who stays in it.


Click here to read more about Lucie Whitehouse and THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT.


Featured Women's Fiction Author: Victoria Lustbader, Author of STONE CREEK

Victoria Lustbader’s first book, HIDDEN, received much critical praise when it was released in 2006. In STONE CREEK, her second work of fiction releasing on May 27th, Lustbader weaves an unforgettable novel of tremendous emotional heft and brilliantly illuminates how the powers of love and loss transform the human heart.

-Click here to read the first EIGHT chapters of STONE CREEK.
-Click here to read Victoria Lustbader’s bio.

-Click here to see Victoria Lustbader's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for STONE CREEK.

-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about STONE CREEK:
In the small town of Stone Creek, a random encounter offers two lonely people a chance at happiness. When Lily and Danny meet, something immediate and undeniable happens between them. Neither one can ignore that Lily is married and 10 years older than Danny, but it is Danny's son, Caleb, who continues to bring them together.


Click here to read more about Victoria Lustbader and STONE CREEK.


Now in Stores: ODD HOURS by Dean Koontz

ODD HOURS by Dean Koontz (Thriller)
When readers last met Odd Thomas, he was attempting to rescue the brothers of St. Bartholomew's Abbey from a mad genius who had taken up residence in the previously peaceful monastery halls. Now, in the fourth book of this series, Dean Koontz has his young hero struggling to save several entire cities from total destruction. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ODD HOURS.


Click here to read a review of ODD HOURS.

Now in Stores: THE MIRACLE AT SPEEDY MOTORS by Alexander McCall Smith

THE MIRACLE AT SPEEDY MOTORS by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
We welcome Precious Ramotswe with open arms as she continues to solve the personal and often deceptively simple problems of her fellow Botswanians. Miracles, it seems, can happen in unexpected and often unrecognized ways, as she and her Associate Detective Mma Makutsi discover. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MIRACLE AT SPEEDY MOTORS.


Click here to read a review of THE MIRACLE AT SPEEDY MOTORS.

Now in Stores: SKELETONS AT THE FEAST by Chris Bohjalian

SKELETONS AT THE FEAST by Chris Bohjalian (Historical Fiction)
SKELETONS AT THE FEAST tells the story of the final months of World War II from the point of view of a German family fleeing East Prussia and heading west in an effort to escape the oncoming Russian army. They are accompanied in their journey by a Jewish refugee (posing as a German officer) and a Scottish POW. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SKELETONS AT THE FEAST.


Click here to read a review of SKELETONS AT THE FEAST.

What's New This Month on is our website for Christian readers with monthly updates of reviews and interviews, as well as discussion guides, book excerpts, a monthly newsletter and more.

This month we spotlight a few Narnia-related titles to coincide with the release of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which is now in theaters; feature a roundup of books perfect to give to dad on Father's Day; and offer readers the opportunity to win a copy of BY REASON OF INSANITY by Randy Singer and THE VOICE by Bill Myers in two special contests.

In addition to announcing the nominees for the Christy Awards and Christian Book Awards, we have seven new study guides and reviews of such books as SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT! by Robin Jones Gunn, FINDING OUR WAY AGAIN by Brian McLaren, THE END OF REASON by Ravi Zacharias, JESUS FOR PRESIDENT by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, and FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN WHAT? by Kimberly Beair.

Click here to visit


This Week's Reviews

AUDITION: A Memoir by Barbara Walters (Memoir)
Barbara Walters has spent a lifetime auditioning: for her bosses at the TV networks, for millions of viewers, for the most famous people in the world, and even for her own daughter, with whom she has had a difficult but ultimately quite wonderful and moving relationship. In only her second book, the famed television journalist fully opens up both her private and public lives. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet (Fiction)
Although her mother, the powerful head of a Broadway theater company, has no time for her, little Jane does have one friend --- a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael --- but only she can see him. Years later, Jane is in her 30s and just as alone as ever. Then she meets Michael again --- as attractive, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S.

CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Thriller)
A war hero with a beautiful wife, MGB officer Leo Demidov lives in relative luxury in Moscow. His only ambition has been to serve his country, and for this greater good, he has been arrested and interrogated. Then the impossible happens. A different kind of criminal --- a murderer --- is on the loose, killing at will. At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies, his world turned upside down, and every belief he’s ever held shattered. The only way to save his life and the lives of his family is to uncover this criminal. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CHILD 44.

EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE by Phillip Margolin (Political Thriller)
A number of slain women are found on both coasts of the country. What do they have in common? The president of the United States. Could the most powerful man in the world be a serial killer? New York Times bestselling author Phillip Margolin has returned with an intriguing tale of murder that snakes its way through Washington, D.C.'s halls of power. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

TWISTED by Andrea Kane (Romantic Suspense)
Sloane Burbank, a former FBI Special Agent with special skills in hostage negotiations, is working hard to make a new life for herself after being injured on the job. Little does Sloane know that, when she becomes involved in locating a string of missing women, the next life for which she will be negotiating with a crazed killer will be her own. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.
THE LAZARUS PROJECT by Aleksandar Hemon
Aleksandar Hemon gives us two intricate and excellent narratives: of a Bosnian-Jewish immigrant to Chicago shot by the Chief of Police, and the modern writer trying to uncover his story. In any environment Hemon touches --- be it Chicago 100 years ago or today, or contemporary Bosnia --- he crafts exciting, innovative prose of gold. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Social Networking Websites


Which of the following social networking websites do you belong to? Check as many as apply.
Other (Please specify)

With Goodreads, LibraryThing and Shelfari, you can display the library of what you have read and what you want to read. Would you be interested in doing this?
I already am doing this.
This is something I would like to do.
This is not something that I am interested in.
I am not sure.

Would you be interested in seeing the virtual libraries of other readers?

I am not sure.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Who is the person (name up to three) you most talk to about books. First name only and relationship to you, please.

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- TWO Prizes

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of THE MURDER NOTEBOOK by Jonathan Santlofer and NOTHING TO LOSE: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on June 6th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on June 6th.
Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the
Write to Us page.  If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by May 31, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein, BLACK OUT by Lisa Unger, COMFORT FOOD by Kate Jacobs, KILLING ROMMEL by Steven Pressfield and ODD HOURS by Dean Koontz. Juanita from West Salem, OH
was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE GIRL WITH NO SHADOW by Joanne Harris, HOLD TIGHT by Harlan Coben, SEPULCHRE by Kate Mosse, WHERE ARE YOU NOW? by Mary Higgins Clark and THE WHOLE TRUTH by David Baldacci.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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